Was your dog crate-trained until recently? You probably put in a lot of time and effort when it was a puppy to get it adjusted to its crate, but somewhere along the way, your dog started moaning about it. First and foremost, don’t panic: it’s not an indication that you’ve done something wrong or that your dog will always despise its crate!
In most circumstances, this phase will either pass or you will have to retrain it with some patience. However, you must first investigate the reasons why your dog has developed an aversion to its crate. Once you figure out what’s causing your dog’s aversion, I’ll show you how to begin treating it.
Change in Your Dog’s Sleeping Schedule
When your dog gets older, its sleeping habits will shift. Your dog will require fewer naps and less sleep overall than it did as a puppy.
If you put a wide-awake dog in a crate, it will almost certainly whine and whimper. You will have to examine your dog’s new sleeping patterns to see if it needs to be put in the crate at different times. Before putting your dog in the crate, make sure it is weary and has had some exercise.
Change in Your Dog’s Eating Schedule
Puppies must go to the bathroom frequently when they are immature. A meal merely takes a few hours to travel through their digestive system. You will most likely adjust your puppy’s schedule when you originally crate-trained it to these bathroom times.
Your dog’s eating pattern will change as it gets older. Its digestion will improve as well. The whining in your dog’s crate may indicate that it needs to go potty.
If your dog goes outside, adjust your meals and cage routine to accommodate its new potty habits.
Change in Your Dog’s Environment
Have you moved the crate somewhere else? Has your dog’s pillow or blanket been washed? This makes it new to your dog, but it’s also new to its nose. Dogs are creatures of habit. They don’t like changes. If something changes, they can become extremely stressed.
You can also attempt to keep something your dog likes in there all the time, such as its soft toy that you never wash. As a result, it always smells the same. If you’ve made any changes recently, simply revert to the previous state.
If you can’t change it back, all you have to do now is wait. Dogs are known for readily adapting to new habits and settings. Don’t react to your dog’s crying when it comes in and give it a chew. Chewing is a great way to unwind and keep your dog occupied. With time and patience, it will get used to the new odor.
Punishment in Your Dog’s Crate
The issue is that if you start using the crate as a punishment, your dog won’t go in crate anymore. Your dog begins to regard its crate as a horrible, unpleasant location, even though you want your dog to consider it as a sleeping and relaxation cave.
Negative association necessitates the application of counter conditioning! You must retrain your dog to like its crate. You may have to start crate training all over again due to this. You must locate the trigger points of your dog.
Is it still going inside on its own but getting irritated when you shut the door behind it? Then that’s where you should begin. Is your dog completely avoiding it? If that’s the case, you’ll need to start from scratch with some delectable delights. You will have to be patient. This phase will pass, despite how difficult it is.
Your Dog Requires Greater Stimulation
Your dog may become bored in the crate. It may desire additional enrichment as it grows older.
Working breed dogs, in particular, need regular exercise, training, and mental stimulation.
Provide your dog with enough exercise and excitement. Give your dog puzzle toys, challenge it with nose work, teach it a new trick, attempt agility with it. The list of possibilities is limitless! Your dog isn’t fussy about what it does with you; your dog will appreciate everything you do with it.
Age and Illness Factors
Some canines, like people, have been known to be grumpy bears in their old days. A dog may enjoy being inside its crate when it is younger.
However, as time goes on, its viewpoint may shift. Illnesses and diseases are also a part of growing older. Joint discomfort, bladder problems, stiffness, and a decline in cognitive function can be caused by it as well.
The actions of old dogs might be pretty strange and different from what they used to be. It is not recommended to cage your older dog unless it is essential if it doesn’t enjoy it anymore. You can also take your dog to a vet to treat its pain.
Crating is useful in certain situations, such as housebreaking or offering daily calm-down time. However, it’s easy to kennel your dog too often or for too long, especially if you’re busy, entertaining visitors, or need a break from getting slobbered on.
Your dog isn’t getting enough attention, affection, stimulation, or exercise if it spends too much time in confinement. That makes your dog hesitant and it starts hating the crate. Consequently, it might be a reason that your dog won’t go in the crate anymore.
The best way to get your dog back into its crate is to figure out what’s making your dog resist it. If you’re over-crating, reduce the amount of time in the crate and increase the time that you spend with your pet and make sure it gets enough stimulation and exercise.
Consult your veterinarian for specific recommendations on how long you can crate your dog each day. Puppies are often confined for half an hour to three hours, while older dogs are routinely confined for four to six hours per day.
The Bottom Line
It’s not unusual for dogs that had previously done well with crate training to begin whining and weeping in their crate. The causes of this can be numerous. Even minor changes in the environment that we may overlook (such as work on the road in front of your house or a smell in its crate) can significantly impact your dog’s behavior.
Try to recall what could have triggered the shift in your dog’s behavior. Also, try to implement a solution to the problem. The good news is that with patience, changing your dog’s schedule as needed, and providing more enrichment and exercise, it will most likely return to its previous kennel behavior.